Nationally-Oriented Linguistic And Cultural Educational Lexicography: Theoretical And Applied Aspects


From the point of view of the modern methodology of teaching Russian as a means of intercultural communication, it is hard to overstate the significance of the linguistic and cultural dictionary today. However, in order to ensure greater efficiency of the educational process, there is a need in creating a linguocultural dictionary, which takes into account both the specifics of the teaching process and the experience accumulated by educational lexicography over the years. It should be noted that an increasingly significant role is given today not to teaching a certain "abstract foreigner", when special attention is drawn to the uniqueness of the studied language (in our case Russian), but to the national and cultural characteristics of the non-native speaker addressee (the learner) which may influence the process of mastering a new linguistic culture. Thus, we are dealing with the so-called “nationally oriented” teaching/learning process which takes into account the national culture of the addressee. At the same time, previously published dictionaries, being in fact universal, fail to take into account either the needs or the characteristics of the specific learner. In our case, a Vietnamese student mastering Russian as a means of intercultural communication. However, as noted above, numerous examples from teaching not only Russian but other foreign languages too allow us to conclude that nationally-oriented teaching aids, which take into consideration the specific features of the national mentality of the students, are able to affect the efficiency of the educational process in a much more positive way.

Keywords: Educational, foreign language teaching/learning, lexicography, linguistic-cultural dictionaryй, nationally-oriented


It is worth noting that modern Russian lexicography (both theoretical and practical) is an area of linguistics that is actively developing in a special way, which can be unambiguously identified as “anthropocentric”. This is because, having reached a sufficiently high level of development, human knowledge strives for an increasingly cumulative form of self-expression and for a more convenient way of obtaining information (Ivanov et al., 2020). This trend is reflected in dictionaries. No other science gives such obvious and communicatively and socially significant results as lexicography.

In our opinion, there are at least two tendencies, one associated with the creation of new types of dictionaries and the other with their systematization, that prevail in modern lexicography.

At the same time, the last decades have been characterized by a steady focus on studying linguistic phenomena in the context of the corresponding culture.

Thus, the so-called “cultural component” coupled in turn with background knowledge, an indicator of the native speaker's belonging to a particular linguoculture, have acquired more and more importance. (Denisova, 1978).

As is known, since the second half of the 20th century, the Russian scientific community has adopted the term linguistic and cultural information to characterize regional information.

The latter was due to the emergence and formation of linguistic and regional studies, a scientific discipline at the intersection of language and culture: philological and methodological at the same time. It became possible due to the publication of the monograph “Language and Culture. Linguistic and regional studies in teaching Russian as a foreign language (Vereshchagin & Kostomarov, 1973).

This scientific discipline, being complex, took upon itself the study of the problems of a foreign language as a carrier of the culture associated with it versus the native language of the addressee of instruction.

Problem Statement

We believe that one of the main tasks of today’s lexicography consists, first of all, in maximizing the consideration of all those needs that a representative of a particular linguoculture who consults a dictionary may have regardless of whether he is a native speaker or a foreign language speaker (Grachev, 2019). Undoubtedly, in this case, it should be an educational vocabulary of the so-called "active type", where the communicative, and not purely "reference" needs of the individual are put at the forefront. In fact, it should be a cognitive-functional dictionary based on the latest, experimentally verified developments in the field of theoretical and practical lexicography. At the same time, a distinctive feature of this type of dictionary is the presentation of material, taking into account the communicative competence and background knowledge of a typical native speaker of a certain language who masters the target language.

The conceptual basis of such a dictionary should be the idea of representing the vocabulary in the form of certain spheres (Karasik, 2016), using the ideographic way of presenting the material as the most time-tested and authoritative (Vinogradov, 2019). It should be emphasized that ideographic representation is inextricably linked not only with the cognitive and functional approaches, but also with the so-called "anthropocentric" approach, without which ideographic representation would have been impossible.

Practical educational lexicography, in addition to linguoculturological aspects, deals with aspects of a purely methodological nature related to the content of training, his organizational behaviour, personality traits of the addressee, etc.

Research Questions

As mentioned above, the linguistic and cultural dictionaries (LCDs), which appeared in the Soviet Union at the end of the 70s, were intended exclusively for foreign students to get them acquainted with the background information of nominative units of the Russian language related to basic lexical semantics. Naturally, they were all compiled by native speakers of the Russian language.

For the compilers of dictionaries, who are often not familiar with the linguoculture of the addressee-foreigner, it is naturally difficult to determine the degree of knowledge by the addressee of the studied culture, as well as to estimate the amount of dictionary information.

Thus, сonsidering the above-mentioned facts, it seemed necessary to create a linguistic and cultural educational dictionary focused on a specific foreign language, a dictionary capable of providing the addressee with the background knowledge of the studied linguistic culture in parallel comparison with their own background knowledge. It seems important to mention that the concern to create this type of dictionary both in the past and in the present is a direct consequence of the interest in increasing the level of mastering the Russian language as a means of intercultural communication.

It should also be noted that since the 70s, a number of linguistic and cultural dictionaries devoted to various aspects of Russian culture have been published in the USSR and Russia. So, for example, the dictionary of Denisova contains words and phrases, which capture the characteristic phenomena of social life and culture in the field of public education. With its help, it is possible to get acquainted with the system of public education in the USSR (Denisova, 1978, pp. 7-18). One of the dictionaries which deserves special attention is the post-perestroika period Complete Linguistic and Cultural Dictionary "Russia" (Chernyavskaya et al., 2007), compiled by a team of authors from the Institute, a dictionary we will discuss in more detail below.

It should be stated that for several decades the background knowledge of another culture and the lexical background of other languages have been studied on the theoretical basis of linguistic and cultural studies, and the components of another culture are compared with Russian culture being semanticized from the point of view of linguistic and cultural lexicography. The result of such work was an educational Linguistic and cultural dictionary of a different type, addressed to a native speaker of the Russian language who learns the language of another country, such as, for example, (Chernov, 1996) and a number of others.

Purpose of the Study

Let us turn directly to the consideration of the concept of a nationally-oriented linguistic and cultural educational dictionary (NOLCED) for Vietnamese students studying Russian, which is presently being developed in collaboration with our Vietnamese partners within the framework of an RFBR grant. The concept was outlined in general terms in the scientific works of Russian and Vietnamese grantees at the end of the last century. This concept is a kind of an integral part of a growing trend, a nationally-oriented linguistic and cultural educational lexicography, dating back to the works of prominent Russian lexicographer Morkovkin and his students and followers. This concept is based on the idea that, since a “generic” foreigner does not exist at all, and in the process of teaching Russian as a foreign Language (RFL), or rather, the Russian language as a means of intercultural communication, one has to deal with a specific contingent of foreigners, the compulsory and most importantly, the foreground principle should be taking into account the addressee's native culture with its characteristic system of values (Bogdanova, 2017; Mamontov et al., 2019; Nelyubova et al., 2019), The same principle should be a priority when creating such a teaching tool as a bilingual linguistic and cultural dictionary.

Research Methods

It is important that the selection and verification of the data obtained is based on experimental socio- and psycho-linguistic procedures, such as: a) interviewing techniques; b) survey method; c) observation; d) the method of associative experiment (Balyasnikova et al., 2018; Ufimtseva & Balyasnikova, 2019; Vasilenko, 2019); e) the method of psychosemantic analysis and a number of others. So, in particular, on the basis of the associative experiment carried out within the framework of this research, discrepancies in the national content of the universal concepts of "love" and "labor" in Russian and Vietnamese linguocultures and a number of other significant discrepancies were identified.


It should be emphasized that today, when the most expedient and promising is nationally oriented education, the foundations of which were laid back in the Soviet times (in this connection it is worth mentioning educational courses prepared, for example, for Vietnamese students mastering Philology and other subjects by Russian-Vietnamese joint groups of specialists, references to which, unfortunately, are difficult to find even on the Internet), opinion about this type of dictionary is changing to a certain extent. By stating this we in no way question the significance of the Complete Linguistic and Cultural Dictionary "Russia", intended primarily for the philological profile with the most in-depth study of the Russian language and culture. According to the authors’ idea, it is a kind of “invariant”, on the basis of which variants should be created in the future: nationally- oriented educational linguistic and cultural dictionaries.

Nonetheless, today its “lack of an addressee” does not contribute to the achievement of the desired level of efficiency of mastering the Russian language by representatives of so-called “distant cultures”, the citizens of Asia, Africa and Latin America, with their traditions, customs, value orientations, etc. being in many respects different to ours (Chulkina & Kol’tsova, 2017, p. 1185).

Let us take, for example, the concept of "family", that is actually missing from the Complete Linguistic and Cultural Dictionary “Russia”. Obviously, the authors' idea in that case was that the concept is universal and has no national-cultural specifics in Russian linguocultural space. This, in general, can be fair in relation to a great number of foreign linguistic cultures, for example, of European countries, but not to the linguistic culture of Vietnam, where the corresponding concept "gia đình" is characterized by different semantic content, which is manifested, in particular, in a greater number of nominative units denoting family relations. Unfortunately, real-world experience shows, that Vietnamese students in many ways do not adequately perceive the modern Russian family with its largely, in our opinion, consumer attitude to traditional family values, and this, in turn, can negatively affect the process of intercultural communication between representatives of the two linguistic cultures, including in the process of joint activities, which will be discussed below.

At the same time, we believe that today those interested in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam need a linguistic and cultural educational dictionary, addressed primarily to a non-philological audience of specialists who are in contact with Russian-speaking partners in such fields as, for example, tourism, business, production, etc. This should be a dictionary of the "active type” mentioned above, which most adequately includes the communicant in the speech, where precedent statements play an important role. A dictionary that forms the corresponding speech skills and abilities on the basis of a certain familiarity with the culture of the country of the target language, sufficient for a non-professional audience. As noted above, here we refer to the very functional-cognitive dictionary, where the vocabulary is presented according to word usage and word collocations. This dictionary, unlike most educational dictionaries, is not intended to carry out a reference function, but should be based on speech production and background knowledge that the so-called “average Russian” has and which they use in everyday communication.

What should the future vocabulary represent in terms of structure and content? Many issues are still subject to correction, but the main "framework" has already been outlined. First, this dictionary should include lexical units, whose semantics is nationally or culturally marked against their counterparts in the Vietnamese linguistic culture. And here a balanced approach taking into account both the specifics of the studied linguoculture and the native culture of the addressee is extremely important (Larina & Ozyumenko, 2016). In this regard, we offer the following selection criteria:

1. Since foreign language students may mix up the concepts of “rare” and “common”, it is not recommended to overload them, for example, with educational material that may reflect atypical communicative situations.

2. This means that selection and minimization of linguocultural material should be determined, first of all, by the fact of its significance for intercultural communication and culture dialogue. So, for example, we have no right to ignore the lexeme "sunbathe" not only because it is a linguocultural lexeme containing nationally and culturally marked components as opposed to the linguocultures of some tropical countries where, for obvious reasons, there is no habit of sunbathing. This linguistic unit is frequent and significant for various forms of communication in the Russian linguistic and cultural environment.

3. is determined by the cultural and historical potential of the corresponding unit of language and speech, which is directly related to its significance for the teaching/learning process. In this case, the principle of “common knowledge” should not be of primary concern, if we mean the designation of phenomena that provide an understanding of the origins of national culture and its specifics. For example, words (lacunae) like "kokoshnik" (a traditional Russian head ornament, typically very broad, which sits high on the forehead), "gorodki" (a game similar to skittles), etc.

4. means that students should not be overloaded with vocabulary associated with any nationally-specific feature of the lifestyle within the linguistic culture of the target language’s country, even if it is culturally significant.

Secondly, it is planned that material for the dictionary will be partially borrowed from Complete Linguistic and Cultural Dictionary “Russia”. These will be lexical units that represent elements of conventional and occasional words and expressions as well as the background knowledge associated with them concerning the cultural characteristics of the country of the target language. For example, the historicism “burlak” (barge hauler) that is presented in the dictionary in the context of the famous painting by I.E. Repin "Barge Haulers on the Volga" which shows how hard these people used to work. In this case, introduction to the term will acquaint students with one of the masterpieces of Russian artistic culture. However, the word “burlak” (barge hauler) can serve as an introduction to a national phenomenon, a fact overlooked by the Complete Linguistic and Cultural Dictionary. In the dictionary we are presently working on, the same entry (relatively concise but quite sufficient for a non-philological audience) will describe this phenomenon taking into account the language level of the addressee and the specifics of their training. For example, we plan to translate descriptions of such notions into the student's native language. It should be emphasized that the central link of the corresponding vocabulary entry completed by cultural information will be the following precedent phrase: "I am as tired today as a barge hauler," which can be used in a situation describing the state of extreme fatigue in the Russian common linguistic practice. We also plan to refer to data from the Russian Semantic Dictionary, edited by Shvedova and a number of other lexicographic sources, including those published in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Thirdly, the authors intend that the Dictionary should include non-equivalent, background and connotative vocabulary that forms an ideographic classification, one of the foundations of the Dictionary

Finally, vocabulary material will be divided into 3 main areas, corresponding to the generally accepted scientific and philosophical methodology: 1. Nature. 2. Material culture. 3. Spiritual culture.

The findings of studies carried out by both Russian and Vietnamese parties show discrepancies in all three identified areas. However, if we take the sphere of "Nature" (Maslova, 2019, p. 193), then, for example, lexical units denoting the realities of the plant and animal world should be included in the dictionary and first of all those which: a) have no equivalents in Vietnamese linguistic culture, for example, “ryabina” (mountain ash), “klyon" (maple) etc., but which are most closely associated with the life of the Russian people, clearly reflecting the features of national specificity due to their active use in modern language, folklore, and fiction; b) are not fully equivalent, including connotative coloration, such as the word "beryoza” (birch); c) those which are found in precedent statements. For example, the word "malina” (raspberry): this nominative unit, is known to be an element of the precedent phrase “ne zhizn', a malina!” (Just living the dream!), used to characterize the feeling of a carefree, joyful existence.


The study of a foreign language as a means of intercultural communication should introduce students to the linguistic picture of the world of the corresponding ethnic group, since this picture contributes to a deeper understanding of the specific use of a particular linguistic unit in the speech.

As our studies have shown, there is an urgent need to develop the concept of a nationally-oriented linguistic and cultural educational lexicography for teaching Russian in Vietnamese universities in the absence of a language environment. The practical implementation of this concept will be a nationally-oriented linguistic and cultural educational dictionary (NOLCED).

This is closely related to the solution of at least three tasks that determine the effectiveness of the proposed version of the Dictionary. Firstly, the choice of students. Secondly, selection and minimization of adequate vocabulary material, taking into account the criteria and classification areas we have identified. Thirdly, the presentation of the selected material in the dictionary entry based on the comparison of the corresponding nominative units, their lexical backgrounds and national coloring as a part of the connotative meaning.


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The Russian language, methods of teaching, Russian language studies, Russian linguistic culture, Russian literature

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Mamontov, A. S., Boguslavskaya, V., & Kim Ngọc, T. T. (2021). Nationally-Oriented Linguistic And Cultural Educational Lexicography: Theoretical And Applied Aspects. In V. M. Shaklein (Ed.), The Russian Language in Modern Scientific and Educational Environment, vol 115. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 413-420). European Publisher.